Local residents' fear of crime not evidentially based

A care home for young people from a residential property in a County Durham town was approved with no harm to the living conditions of local residents with respect to noise and disturbance or the fear of crime.

The inspector first considered the suitability of the location of the site. The council had refused the proposal because the young people at the appeal site would have to be driven to school by car an hour away from the site. But the inspector held this was because of the nature of the needs of the children in care and otherwise found the site well related to shops, community and social facilities and public transport generally. Secondly, local residents had raised concerns about fear of crime and anti-social behaviour. The local police had also raised concerns about the hostility of the local community and the cost of regular attendance at children’s homes. But the inspector considered there was no substantive evidence to demonstrate there was a reasonable evidential basis for the fear expressed by local residents and found the proposal policy compliant in this regard. Finally, with respect to noise and disturbance, the inspector noted the increase in vehicle movements at the property as a result of the change of use would not be significant, rising from 7 to 23 per day, and the submitted noise assessment concluded there would be no adverse effect on the living conditions of local residents. The inspector concluded the proposal was in accordance with adopted development plan policy and the NPPF.

Inspector: M Brooker; Written representations

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